WHALES: Watershed Heroes
|Want to involve your school or class? Contact Education Coordinator
Dyana Pena at 714-850-1965 Ext 305 or email@example.com
Made possible by:
We believe every student can be a “Watershed Hero!” That’s why Coastkeeper created W.H.A.L.E.S.: Watershed Heroes- Actions Linking Education to Stewardship. The program introduces local students to watershed and ecological concepts through in-class exercises and field trips at no cost to schools. In 7 years of the WHALES Program, we’ve reached over 6,000 junior high and high school students across Orange County and the Inland Empire…and we’re still growing! Our WHALES Program goals are:
- To provide low-income high school students with outdoor education experiences and interaction with public agencies;
- To increase environmental literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education by challenging students to think, write, and speak critically about local coastal protection issues;
- To foster in our students environmental stewardship and community involvement as they enter adulthood; and
- To encourage students to explore educational and career opportunities in watershed management.
South OC WHALES Expansion: In one of our most ambitious undertakings ever, the Coastkeeper staff brought 360 Shorecliffs Middle School students to San Onofre State Park on October 17 and 18th. As part of our South OC Expansion of the WHALES Program, we provided an in-class lesson and field trip for the entire 6th grade class. Through this unique experience, Shorecliffs students explored the San Mateo Creek Watershed and Trestles Beach. This program was made possible by a generous grant from San Diego Gas & Electric. We are excited to announce that SDGE recently awarded Coastkeeper with another grant to continue this program in 2013!
- “Kids get a chance to be keepers of the coast,”- OC Register, 10/18/2012
- “San Onofre, Coastkeeper host kids,” – San Clemente Patch, 10/18/2012
Allergan Foundation Grant: Coastkeeper is thrilled to announce that the Allergan Foundation has awarded a grant to support the WHALES Program for the 2012-2013 school year. The $5,000 donation will help us continue our outreach to underserved schools in Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Orange, Costa Mesa, and La Habra, providing students with hands-on research experiences, career development activities, and field trips.
Coastkeeper works with a diverse range of students and classes from enthusiastic 6th graders to high school seniors seeking experience in environmental science careers. We have modified our curriculum to be more effective for students with developmental and mental disabilities, students from various cultural backgrounds, and students for whom English is a second language.
Students are typically from Environmental Science, Marine Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Science classes. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teachers also sought field experiences, guest speakers and class projects to enhance student achievement.
2012-2013 WHALES Participants…so far!
- Chavez High School- Santa Ana, Chemistry, Life Science & Earth Science
- Costa Mesa High School – AP Environmental Science & Marine Science
- Estancia High School- Costa Mesa, Marine Science
- Godinez High School- Santa Ana, AP Environmental Science
- La Habra High School- AP Environmental Science
- Ladera Ranch Middle School- Ladera Ranch, 7th Grade Science
- Lathrop Intermediate- AVID Program
- Lorin Griset Academy- Santa Ana, Biology, Chemistry
- Orange High School- AP Environmental Science
- Rancho Alamitos High School- Garden Grove, AP Environmental Science, Special Education, English Language Development
- Rancho Canada Elementary- Lake Forest, Special Education
- Santa Ana High School- Earth Science
- Shorecliffs Middle School- 6th Grade Science
- Troy High School- Fullerton, AP Environmental Science
Throughout the school year, Coastkeeper works directly with participating teachers to carry out educational activities that fit their students’ needs. While some classes participate in multiple field trips during the year, others may be able to do 1 or 2 in-class lessons and field trips. Activities include water quality testing, water treatment plant tours, habitat restoration and monitoring of coastal ecosystems.
“It was a better way of understanding things face-to-face and hands on.”
“We learned a lot in class, but we could really see the impact through Orange County Coastkeeper.”
“I didn’t know science could be this fun!”
“WHALES allows students to meet people whose job is to protect the environment, experience the work for themselves, and make a difference in our community. They are given a rare opportunity to learn meaningful content outside the walls of the classroom.” - AP Environmental Science Teacher
“I brought ELDA students- students who had been in this country less than a year. Almost every experience was new to them and educational. Our students had a terrific day. They learned a great deal, but even more than that, they had their eyes opened to all sorts of possibilities that might not have otherwise occurred to them.” - English Language Development Science Teacher
“All activates were engaging and informative. Running small groups made for wonderful connection between presenter and students. My students felt safe to ask questions, are interested in learning more. So many of my students have come back to school telling their different teachers what they saw, touched, and learned.” -Special Education Science Teacher
“We have found the program to be extremely beneficial in helping our students understand the environment and make it come alive, especially our wetlands. Some of our students have never been to the beach, although it is less than 10 miles away.” - AVID Teacher
“Kids come up to me at the end of the year saying that they see the world in an entirely new way and will make lifelong changes based on the course, and WHALES is a huge part of that awakening.” - AP Environmental Science Teacher
Orange County Coastkeeper, Inland Empire Waterkeeper and the Coastal Conservation Network do not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion, color, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, marital status, pregnancy, age, medical condition (cancer related or HIV/AIDS related), handicap, disability or any other protected status in accordance with the requirements of local, state, and/or federal law in the educational programs or activities that we operate and we are required by Title IX and 40 C.F.R. § 5.140 not to discriminate in such a manner. Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX and requirements listed above may be referred to our Civil Rights Coordinator – Colin A. Kelly, Staff Attorney, 3151 Airway Ave., Suite F-110, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, (714) 850-1965 ext. 307.